A Non-Denominational, Bible-teaching Church
Sunday Service 9:30am | 301 Clinton St. Hudson, IL
The Pandemic that Plagues the Witness of the Church
Let’s face it….we’ve been dealing with a word “pandemic” on a consistent basis since 2020. It’s not a new word, but it has really surfaced a lot more because of COVID. However, there’s another pandemic out there- one that plagues the witness of the church. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic by calling it a pandemic, but it’s one we see in churches throughout our country. And that pandemic, as I call it, comes from the virus of self-righteousness.
When a new believer genuinely comes to Christ, there is a joyful enthusiasm and wonder that Christ loved them enough to die for them. But the longer we are believers, one of two things can happen. Either we grow deeper in humility because we grow deeper in the love and grace of God, or we can drift toward self-righteousness. No one intentionally sets out to be self-righteous, but it happens.
Because Christ changes our hearts, we no longer sin like we used to. We become good people (or better people) and the longer we live striving to do good, the more aware we can become of our goodness- especially when we compare it to the not so good lifestyles of others! The longer we have become Christians, the easier it is to see any goodness as our goodness rather than the work of Christ in us. The longer we have been Christians, the more we can take for granted what Christ did or us, saving us when we did not deserve it. The longer we have been Christians, the less we might remember what our lives were like without Christ. We lose sight of the fact that we are included in those who “have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12).
If we look at the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke Chapter 18:9-14, we applaud the attitude of the tax collector when he says “God have mercy on me, a sinner!” But we can have a tendency to act like the Pharisee who says “God, I thank you that I’m not like other people- greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.” We have forgotten what it’s like to be the tax collector, and over time, we become the Pharisee. We can look no further than our behavior towards “outsiders,” those who live apart from the Christian faith and ethic. Or, we can display self-righteousness in how we treat other Christians. We excel at pointing out the faults of other Christians who have fallen and sinned, but yet we don’t take the time to look at our faults. Take it a step further as we enter the political season currently and into next year, what if someone has a different political viewpoint than yourself? Even though we may disagree from a political viewpoint, are our views stated in a loving, kind manner or in a harsh, demeaning way? How we express our views makes a clear distinction between righteousness and self-righteousness.
We are called righteous, and we can only truly be righteous in Christ, not in our own self-identity. But any righteous behavior on our part must be clothed in humility. Without humility, we come across as self-righteous.
During out weekly Bible study, we’ve been studying from the book of James. Listen to James words in Chapter 1 verses 19-20 when he says, “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
As believers, let’s not forget the sinners we are and what Christ has done for us. We are where we are today because of Christ’s work in our lives. Without Christ, we could say along with Paul that we are the worst of sinners.
So going forward, let’s respond to others with humility and grace just as Christ did when He humbled Himself on our behalf. Showing kindness and grace in our words is an extension of Christ’s grace and kindness to us, a group of sinners who deserve eternal destruction.
Elder Dave McGraw